If you are thinking about visiting Tohoku’s most famous hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots in the upcoming spring season then you definitely require a suggested itinerary. Apart from discovering the top 10 most popular sakura viewing spots in Tohoku I would like to add other most visited tourist attractions of the six prefectures (Fukushima, Yamagata, Akita, Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori). If you just intend to visit the hanami spots, there is a big chance of missing out something precious that we really adore. I don’t want you have such kind of feeling.
The Tohoku region is vast, comprises six distinctive prefectures and blessed with endless discoveries. There you can find everything that what actually a visitor desires to explore from historic landmarks to impressive four seasons beauty display and countless outdoor adventures including natural hot spring bath. I honestly believe that those who have already decided to take a trip to Tohoku this spring to catch some great hanami action did a great job. Well done! Now it is time to share the spring itinerary for 7 days in the Tohoku Region.
Day 1 – Fukushima
The best way of experiencing Tohoku’s hanami is by getting to Fukushima first. This is the perfect gateway and from there you would be moving towards rest of the prefectures of the Tohoku region. If you decide to come from Tokyo then take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen and get off the train when it reaches to Fukushima Station.
Places of Interest: Hanamiyama Park, Shinobuyama Park, and Miharu Takizakura.
Your first destination would be Miharu Takizakura. It is a thousand years old weeping cherry tree, located in a remote town called Miharu. Please note that accessing to Miharu Takizakura would be challenging as public transport there is really poor. Get off the train at Koriyama Station if you are coming from Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Hanamiyama Park and Shinobuyama Park can be reached very easily from Fukushima Station. Spend most of your time in Hanamiyama Park and take a stroll through the walking trails and enjoy the surrounding scenic beauty along with glorious cherry blossoms display. Stay overnight in Fukushima, and you better book your room in a hotel that is situated adjacent to the station. Eat Fukushima style Gyoza and if possible famous Kitakata Ramen!
Day 2 – Yamagata
I don’t know what your travel budget for this trip is but manage it carefully so that you don’t run out of money. Yet a lot of discoveries are left behind! Spending a day in Yamagata would allow you to get a feel for the city’s main highlights.
Places of Interest: Kajo Park (Yamagata Castle Ruins), Yamadera Temple, and Yonezawa.
It is possible to cover all these attractions within a day but you have to decide which one to visit first then the next. You will visit Kajo Park to see amazing display of cherry blossom. In fact, this is the top hanami spot in the whole Yamagata prefecture. Though there are other prominent places to enjoy splendid sakura. On the other hand, Yamadera temple is a sacred place where you have to hike up through the stone staircase of 1,015 steps. Visitors love exploring the Buddhist architectures and statues there. In addition, to view incredible spring vistas from top of the temple’s grounds you have got to do it.
As late-April is the best time to see sakura in Yamagata, there you catch a great spring festival called Yonezawa Uesugi Festival. It is held in Yonezawa city, from April 29th to May 3rd every year. There you can spectacle a great samurai battle (just for entertainment) along with seeing delicate cherry blossoms.
Check out this hotel and book your room immediately. Otherwise you have to book a room in other hotels spending extra money. It is suggested to reserve a nice cozy room online in advance, especially if you visit Japan during hanami season.
Day 3 – Miyagi
I love traveling around Miyagi prefecture. Its historical sites, city museum, cherry blossom spots and local cuisine have always impressed my mind.
Places of Interest: Sendai City, Shiroishi Riverside, Mikamine Park, Tsutsujigaoka Park, Shiroishi Castle, Sendai City Museum, Rinnoji Temple.
Reach Sendai city from Yamagata Station and immediately check in to this hotel and left your luggage there. Take a rest for a while though the journey between Yamagata station to Sendai station is not a long distance as it requires less than one and a half hour. So if you manage yourself catch the early train to Sendai in the morning then you have a lot of time to roam around. Your first stop this morning would be the Shiroishi Riverside and then Shiroishi Castle. Both of these places will delight you with the sakura trees in mid-April.
Get back to Sendai city and have your lunch in a restaurant you find nearby. Then try visiting rest of the attractions I have mentioned earlier especially Mikamine Park and Tsutsujigaoka Park. My hanami experiences in these two places were pretty amazing. For a little bit of history you must head to Sendai City Museum. If you want to be in a peaceful place that offer lush green space then go to Rinnoji Temple, it features an outstanding Japanese style garden. Stay overnight in Sendai city and leave the town for Iwate’s Kitakami city in the next morning.
Day 4 – Iwate
Iwate is packed with breathtaking natural scenery, festivals, local delicacies, recreational activities, and history. Ok, I guess getting to Kitakami from Sendai is quite easy by train.
Places of Interest: Kitakami Tenshochi Park, Takamatsu Park, and Morioka City.
There are two best sakura viewing spots worth exploring in Iwate. Kitakami Tenshochi Park is one of the top hanami spots in Japan. There you can enjoy a lot gorgeous outdoor activities such as delightful boat journey in the Kitakami River and ride on a horse driven carriage including walking along the sakura tunnel. In fact, these rides are particularly introduced to visitors so that they can enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms and surrounding picturesque scenery.
When you head to Morioka city, usually you get there to have Morioka Raimen Noodles. It is a unique style noodle, originated in Morioka city. You can satisfy your stomach eating it and then embark on the last trip of your Iwate expedition. Takamatsu Park is the last one you are going to visit. You can rent a paddle boat or just take a leisurely stroll through the walking paths to enjoy the scenic beauty it offers in the spring. Often the park said to be a perfect place to see sunset! So you could hardly miss this opportunity. Instead of staying a night in downtown Iwate, I suggest you stay in Morioka city.
Day 5 – Aomori
It is time for heading towards Aomori prefecture. Catch the train that departs early to Towada city. The early you reach the better it would be to cover other popular sightseeing attractions.
Places of Interest: Towada City, and Hirosaki Park.
Cherry blossom in Towada city is stunningly breathtaking. In spring, when most of the sakura trees are in full bloom, I enjoy walking down the Government Office Street (Kanchogai-dori). I also recommend you to spend some times at Towada Art Center. However, you will be amazed with the art collections it has. Have you lunch in Towada city and get some strength before you head to legendary Hirosaki Park. You don’t have to worry about how much time you spend there because it offers you a great sakura illumination at night.
Welcome to Hirosaki Park! This is one of the top 10 hanami spots in all over Japan. Having such reputation, the place itself is very spacious and home to 2,600 cherry trees of 50 different varieties including one 134 years old Yoshino cherry tree. Does not it sound an awesome place to explore? There you find food stalls offering you variety of local foods and entertaining live stage events. Oh, I hope you don’t forget to take a photograph of yourself in front of the Hirosaki Castle! Stay overnight in Hirosaki city. If you wish to stay in a hotel that offers a cheap hotel deals then don’t hesitate to ask me, I know some!
Day 6 – Aomori (day 2 in Aomori)
I want you stay one night and two days in Aomori. I don’t want you miss the other beautiful sakura viewing spot called Ashino Park. At first, head to Tsugaru-Goshogawara Station either by local train or taxi. In fact, your journey begins from there. So hop on the train that goes to Tsugaru Nakasato Station. Please note that you are not going to have a ride till it reaches to the last stop rather get off the train once it reaches to Ashino Park Station.
The nearby area at the Ashino Park Station is decorated with millions of sakura blossoms. Every year, the Kanagi Cherry Blossom Festival is held in this park from April 29 to May 05. Thousands of cherry trees create a breathtaking scenery that you can’t say “I don’t like it.” I won’t reveal everything here; you better head to this beautiful park and discover the mind-blowing things yourself. All the best! Get back to downtown Aomori, do some shopping there, and relax your mind taking a hot spring bath in an onsen.
Before nightfall, you must take the train to Akita city. Stay overnight there, and reserve your room in advance before your arrival.
Day 7 – Akita
You know what, Akita offers adventure year-round! When spring arrives in Akita, people get ready for hanami adventure. When visitors think of Akita’s spring nature, Kakunodate Samurai Residences comes to mind first.
Places of Interest: Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Festival, Akita Museum of Art, and Kanto Festival Center.
I often recognize this classic cherry blossom spot as weeping cherry tree kingdom. You will be real impressed viewing stunning display of weeping sakura blossoms and historic samurai residences. Along with walking down the street of the Kakunodate Samurai Residences I highly recommend you to get to Hinokinai Riverside. Its 2 km. long sakura tree tunnel on the riverbank of the Hinokinai River would simply make you astonished.
If you are not tired then you should pay a visit to Akita Museum of Art and Kanto Festival Center including head to a restaurants and try eating some local dishes. However, this year’s spring trip to Tohoku ends right there in Akita.
This itinerary is very simple covering most of the famous cherry blossom spots in Tohoku including other top attractions. Make sure you buy a 7 day Japan Rail Pass and please don’t forget to check out the 2017 Japan cherry blossom forecast. It is important! If you want to rely on self-drive then drive carefully maintaining the Japan traffic rules. Just don’t break the law! Anyway, good luck to you!
Copyright 2016 @ takkhis